I know this because Montana Lobby sent me an email this morning telling me that.
“In an attempt to make more information accessible to the public, we compiled all lobbyist spending reports filed in Montana during the 2017 session (current as of last week) and added them up. Feel free to share the information if you'd like.”
Well, you’re fuckin’-A right I’m gonna share this!
I live for days when I get delivered gold like this, oh yes indeed.
According to Montana Lobby, over $4.8 million was spent this session lobbying legislators to vote a certain way.
We know the groups that spent this money, and the lead lobbyists for those groups.
I’d like to give you the largest lobbyist groups today, as well as what they spent influencing your representatives.
I consider this to be corruption myself.
Many people disagree with that, and that’s perfectly fine.
So like I mentioned, all this information comes from Montana Lobby and you can go to their site and see it yourself.
They in turn take it from the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices website.
I’m just going to gussy it up a bit for you, make it more readable.
First off, we know that over $4.8 million was spent lobbying the 150 Montana legislators over the past few months.
That comes out to $32,000 per legislator.
I’ll list them according to the money they spent, with dollar amounts rounded to the nearest thousand and only groups with $20,000 or more listed.
The big winners were:
- Altria Client Services: $183,000
- Montana Beer & Wine Distributors: $121,000
- RAI Services Company: $113,000
- Montana Association of Counties: $109,000
- Montana Association of Realtors: $105,000
- Montana Chamber of Commerce: $92,000
- Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes: $90,000
- Blue Cross Blue Shield: $87,000
- AARP Montana: $79,000
- Charter: $74,000
- Express Scripts Holding: $65,000
- American Cancer Society: $64,000
- MEA-MFT: $57,000
- Montana Infrastructure Coalition: $56,000
- Sierra Health Group: $56,000
- Council of State Governments Justice Center: $54,000
- RELX, Inc.: $53,000
- Allegiance Benefit Plan Management: $52,000
- Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers: $52,000
- Montana League of Cities and Towns: $51,000
- American Heart Association: $50,000
- State Auditor: $50,000
- Everytown for Gun Safety: $48,000
- SEIU Healthcare: $48,000
- Northwestern Energy: $48,000
- Denbury Resources: $43,000
- Shodair Children’s Hospital: $43,000
- Montana Dental Association: $42,000
- Montana Conservation Voters: $41,000
- Fallon County: $40,000
- CoreCivic: $40,000
- Billings Clinic: $39,000
- City of Billings: $39,000
- AT&T: $38,000
- Department of Transportation: $37,000
- Kalispell Regional Healthcare: $37,000
- Montana Public Employees Association: $37,000
- Pfizer: $36,000
- Triangle Public Affairs: $36,000
- Montana Wildlife Federation: $34,000
- National Wildlife Federation: $32,000
- Montana Building Industry Association: $32,000
- Montana Trial Lawyers Association: $32,000
- Big Sky Resort Area District: $30,000
- Montana Hospital Association: $30,000
- Montana State AFL-CIO: $30,000
- Montana State Fund: $30,000
- Talen Energy: $30,000
- City of Missoula: $29,000
- Montana Health Care Association: $28,000
- Montana Society of CPA’s: $28,000
- Montana Cultural Advocacy: $26,000
- Montana Farmers Union: $26,000
- Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers: $26,000
- 1-800-Contacts: $25,000
- Compassion & Choices: $25,000
- Montana Innocence Project: $24,000
- PacificSource Health Plans: $24,000
- Billings Chamber of Commerce: $23,000
- Montana Community Colleges: $23,000
- Montana Medical Association: $23,000
- Northern Plains Resource Council: $23,000
- St. Vincent Healthcare: $23,000
- Montana Lodging & Hospitality Association: $22,000
- Taylor Luther Group: $22,000
- IBEW Local 44: $21,000
- Conduent, Inc.: $21,000
- Montana Farm Bureau: $21,000
- Montana Grain Growers: $21,000
- Amgen: $20,000
- Montana Association of Clerks and Recorders: $20,000
- Montana Water Well Drillers: $20,000
- Prime Therapeutics: $20,000
- Senior Water Rights Coalition: $20,000
That’s 74 lobbying groups that are spending more than $20,000.
When we total up all the healthcare related lobbying it comes to $785,000 alone.
That’s just from the 20 healthcare groups that I can identify.
Can you begin to understand why healthcare in America is so expensive?
Those companies look out for themselves, not you.
I find it interesting that cities and state departments are lobbying.
I guess that’s tax money that they use to do that, huh?
Is that a justifiable expense? I’m sure it is.
Does that make it right?
I don’t think so, and I bet most of the, say, 71,000 residents in Missoula would agree with me.
Most of the 150 legislators and the lobbyist slime that panders to them probably would not.
And that’s fine.
I’d also like to list the following lobbyists, groups that we typically think of as ‘bad.’
Despite that, these groups spent hardly any money at all:
- Americans for Prosperity: $2,000
- Exxon Mobil: $2,000
- Phillips 66: $2,000
Here are some names I saw a lot, and for different lobbying groups.
These are professional lobbyists:
- John Iverson (MT Tavern Owners Association)
- Mark Baker (Mercury Public Affairs)
- Shane Scanlon (ABS Legal & Mercury)
- Jon Metropoulos (life insurance)
- Mark Taylor (Taylor Luther Group)
- Jessie Luther (Taylor Luther Group)
- Aimee Grmoljez (Crowley Fleck Law)
- Ed Bartlett (Ed Bartlett, LLC)
I’m sure there are many key lobbyists that I’m missing.
It’s important that we identify these individuals.
Most are out to benefit themselves while costing the state.
That’s why it’s critical to identify them. When you know who the bad guys are, you’re one step closer to defeating them.
Hell, maybe some principled legislators will read this and then in 2019 when they see these guys coming they can run.
I wouldn’t give these folks the time of day, myself.
Open your eyes – these people get paid money to influence votes so they benefit whatever group they belong to.
They don’t care what the law is going to be one way or the other.
They’re just in it for the money.
I mean, we’ve already established that money is more important to them than Montana.
Whether it’s $1 or $10,000, they’ll choose money over their town and neighbors every day of the week.
And of course we’ll argue that some of them are good, that some of them are looking out for the interests of the state.
Those paying them money? Those paying them lip service?
It’s all subjective. Hell, those people I listed go to bed each night thinking that they’re the good guy.
They’re the furthest thing from good guy that you can get.
They engage in legalized corruption, and Montana not only puts up with it, most of the people in the state don’t even know the extent of the problem.